Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
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New ideas keep surfacing for capturing and storing energy available right now for future use.  Because we must continue to find ways that plan ahead for sustainable life on earth, this is a really hot topic.

Batteries can store electricity generated by solar and wind power when conditions are favorable, so it can be used when they are not. Electricity storage is the second part of the renewable energy solution. By investing in new battery systems, Germany is continuing down the path it started on to shift away from nuclear power.

 

30 MW Storage Battery

 

To Be Built In Germany

 

 

There are a batch of links in the article to other stories relating to the savvy Germans and the strides they are making.  Jobs in energy – renewable, non-carbon based, solar, wind, etc., are plentiful.  What are you going to do with your future?  (Remember to bring a flashlight – efficiently powered of course!)

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Moths have a bad rep.  They chew holes in winter garments or leave brown staining behind.  They can be annoying when fluttering around your home at night, attracted to every lightbulb that’s burning.  In the Dakota fields in the U.S., they can be so numerous at night that you think you’re driving in a summer snowstorm (I experienced this while driving cross-country – believe me, I’ve never needed my car washed so badly!)

There’s some new tech that is hoping to give moths a “new mission” in life.  Research is ongoing at North Carolina State University to create drones – not mechanical, but living.  Dr. Alper Bozkurt is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university and developed the technique with Dr. Amit Lal from Cornell University. It involves attaching electrodes to a moth while it’s changing from a caterpillar, a methodology named Early Metamorphosis Insertion Technology (EMIT).

The goal: remotely-controlled moths, or “biobots,” for use in emergency response, such as search and rescue operations.

Research Paves Way for

 

Cyborg Moth ‘Biobots’

 

Read an op-ed piece by Diane Shipley featured on the shinyshiny site that speaks up for the ‘rights of the moths’: Might bionic moths be the future of disaster relief?

And another article on the Kurzweil  site with some keen observations by readers giving their thoughts on the tech:  Remote-controlled cyborg moth ‘biobots’ to monitor emergency-response operations

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November 17th, 2014
3:23
 

Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past.  Researchers think power grids and communication systems would be most at risk.  Is there work that you are engaged in that could help mitigate the effects of our world turning ‘upside down’???

 

Earth’s Magnetic Field Flip Could Happen

Sooner Than Expected

 

Schematic illustration of Earth's magnetic field. Credit/Copyright: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh

Schematic illustration of Earth’s magnetic field. Credit/Copyright: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh

 

Changes measured by the Swarm satellite show that our magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than originally predicted, especially over the Western Hemisphere.  The Swarm satellites not only pick up signals coming from the Earth’s magnetic field, but also from its core, mantle, crust and oceans.

Here is some additional information on the topic from the British Geological Survey site that you may find helpful: Reversals: Magnetic Flip

And some amazing detail from NASA:  Magnetic Pole Reversal Happens All The (Geologic) Time

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There is almost frenzied focus to find alternative fuels for use around the world.  In the U.S., there are a number of different replacements for fossil fuel that have been, and continue to be, explored.  How will this affect the world economy?  Maybe you have a great idea for merging production with prosperity?  Here’s some news on the Ethanol front that may spark some creative thoughts for your own ‘liquid energy’.

Since 1981, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has been the authoritative voice of the U.S. ethanol industry. Our members are committed to helping our country become cleaner, safer, and more energy independent.

Click the pic to visit their website.

Click the pic to visit their website.

RFA Unveils New Mobile App

 

Ethanol Fun Fact:   Each bushel of corn used in ethanol production yields 17.5 lbs of nutrient-rich livestock feed, returning 1/3 of the bushel to the market.

 

 

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I fondly remember the Disney ride attraction “Mission to Mars” that my family and I would experience during each trip to Walt Disney World in Kissimmee, Florida.  During the ride, the seats in the attraction would simulate the vibrations and G-forces from “Hyper-space” during take-offs and landings by filling up with compressed air. That ride has since been retooled a few times and morphed into Stitch’s Great Escape!

That memory came to the forefront of my brain when I read about the mission that six people will embark upon when they enter a 36 foot diameter geodesic dome on the slopes of the second biggest volcano in the solar system in Hawaii. And, to be sure, they are not there on vacation.

blog mars

This team is beginning an eight-month mission funded by the US space agency NASA to test if humans will be able to withstand the long periods of confinement in a tight space that will be required to send a manned space mission to Mars some time around 2030. For Martha Lenio, the 34-year old renewable energy entrepreneur who is commanding the mission, it is something else besides: a chance to explore the furthest frontiers of sustainability.

These engineers, who were hand-picked by NASA for their contribution to sustaining life within the pod, will have to be more self-sufficient than lunar astronauts who are in constant contact with Earth, Lenio said.

“Maybe all the things we learn about sustainability along the way will turn out to be the most useful thing about going to Mars,” said Lenio.

What a great opportunity for these six engineers – you never know what great adventure may come your way with the skills you possess.

 

 

 

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